Archive for January, 2016
It’s the middle of the school year and homework can begin to seem like drudgery. Time is ticking and sometimes you just need your child to get that worksheet done. Here are 5 quick ways to make homework time for fun:
1. Behold the Sand Timers. I started using this set when my son was in 2nd grade, and they were nothing short of a miracle. He’d select the appropriate time (for a math problem, a word problem, geography drills, etc.) and then was on his own. He loved them so much, he even had a set in his bedroom for “personal care” tasks like brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. Now that we’ve graduated to more difficult work, we have a beautiful white 15-minute glass timer (pictured at the top of this post). We use it every day during our homeschooling (and it matches our modern house decor)!
2. Ye Old Scavenger Hunt. This is a variation of a treasure hunt: I place different worksheets in different rooms of the house. Kids start off in Room #1, finish the task, and are given a clue as to where the next piece of work is. After the final room and assignment, they are given a clue to a small prize that’s hidden in that room (usually a piece of candy or an old trinket found in the garage).
3. Riddle Fun. This works well for curious kids who always need their questions answered “right away”. Ask a riddle, a joke, or a burning academic question and don’t tell them the answer until they are done with their work. This works best when you can break up work into small tasks (a single page or math problem). There are many books of engaging riddles you can get from the library, and you can also search online (see here.)
4. Erasable Coloured Pencils. Who doesn’t like their work in colour? The key here is to get the erasable coloured pencils. My daughter (the artist) enjoys doing her spelling words and composition writing in rainbow.
5. TV Show Hostage. Alright, this could be considered unscrupulous bribery, but it works. Pick a show, preferably one with a lot of cliffhangers, play for 5-10 minutes, pause it and have them complete their work (work time should be proportional to show time), and repeat.
Meet our new India Map Puzzle! Still beautiful wood, but now in a more portable floor puzzle format – and more affordable at $34.99.
Our exclusive design is a geographical work of art – with each of India’s states laser cut to their exact shapes. The puzzle is based on the official map maintained by the Government of India – down to the sanctioned colors for each state. Surrounding countries and water bodies are also part of the puzzle.
Cut from thick, 5mm wood, this puzzle is sure to impress. And at over 90 pieces, it can be quite a challenge!
Comes with an updated (2015) 8-page Parents’ Guide which contains a compliation of facts about India and each state.
Say “ji” to geography! Ready to ship. Available here…
Masalamommas reviews our Days of the Week Flashcards. Featuring a terrific suggestion on how to use them, Anjum Nayyar and Karen Johnson chat about how these cards were conversation starters for kids as school. Thanks for sharing your experience ladies!
The Hindu, or Vedic, Time System is truly a gift to humanity. Vedic astronomers divided time from the smallest of microseconds to epic yugas and kalpas. Here is a great way to introduce an element of the time system to kids: starting with the 7 Days of the Week.
Astronomers in ancient India attributed each day of the week to be governed by a particular celestial body – the Sun (Surya or Ravi) and the Moon (Chandra or Soma) and 5 planets: Mars (Mangal), Mercury (Budh), Jupiter (Brihaspati, the Guru of the Devas), Venus (Shukra) and Saturn (Shani). Together with Rahu and Ketu, these celestial bodies are collectively named the navagrahas.
These cards reflect the “personality” of the celestial body that rules each day: Mars (red) is a troublemaker, Jupiter (yellow) is wise and pious and Saturn (blue/black) is strict and stern.
Available in our Etsy Shop for $5 and Free Shipping. Or just email us at orders[at]gnaana.com with your shipping address and we’ll send you a click-and-pay link.
3.5″ x 5″ cards printed on heavy-duty cardstock. Cards come packaged in a plastic sleeve.
Why do we celebrate Sankranthi, your kids ask. And you give them this brilliant, poetic explanation: Sankranthi is a harvest festival that marks the beginning of the sun’s northward journey. To Hindus, the sun is an embodiment of knowledge, spiritual light, and wisdom – and so Sankranthi signifies that we should move away from darkness, ignorance, and delusion and gravitate towards purity and wisdom. “Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya“ – may you go higher and higher, to more & more Light and never to Darkness, you loftily recite.
But what about the Winter Solstice? I thought the sun changed direction after the shortest day of the year – in December?, your science-y kid asks.
It’s a brilliant question. Sankranthi is one of the rare holidays that follows the solar (as opposed to the lunar) calendar. There are actually 12 “sankranthis” in the year – marking when the sun moves into a different rashi, but the Makar Sankranthi is the most auspicious, marking the day the sun moves into the Makara Rashi. Historically, Makar Sankranthi and the Winter Solstice may have aligned on the same day; however, over the course of thousands of years, there has been a slight change in the way the Earth’s rotation axis is aligned to the sun. Hence the discrepancy.
Thanks to Dr. Mayank Vahia (scientist working at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) for this explanation. You can read his full article here.
Found! Some contemporary(ish), whimsical, inspirational India-themed art for kids. Check out these wall-worthy Nursery Art Prints by Picturetale: Rama, Sita, and Hanuman.